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Horror from the Coast!

Posted by Dirck on 2 May, 2013

As with so many of my titles, I’m not altogether accurate here.  Glendale is part of the amorphous conurbation that gets “Los Angeles” applied to it, so it’s near the coast.  Horror has come to me from there, but it’s the welcome artificial sort, and the emotion it mainly fosters is delight.

“Explain yourself!”

You see, back during InCoWriMo, as I cast about for recipients of my output, I realized that I was long overdue in writing a big soppy fan-letter to the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, whose headquarters are in the aforementioned location.  Apparently the fine people who direct the Society were able to tell that the lunatic writing to them was not a dangerous sort, or was at least far enough away that an actual visit was unlikely even if he were encouraged, and so they responded to that big soppy fan-letter, in which I rather gushed with admiration for their films (yes, that’s plural!), their Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, and generally every other thing of theirs which I’ve seen, which are equally well described as “rather cool” and “carefully crafted”.

The response was a plain brown envelope, in which lay two items.  The larger of them was a recently printed monograph from the Miskatonic University Press, and for those who can deal with a veneer of dry academicism it is a giddy little gem– that veneer, by the way, is absolutely vital to the effect and is magnificently accomplished.  The other item could be described as a note of thanks for the letter… except it takes the form of a Cthulhugram.  This is very like a telegram, and is modeled upon one of the diverse prop documents they offer, but rather than reproducing an item from the past it merely offers that sensibility– after all, anything with CTHULHUGRAM across the top in bright yellow on a red background is pretty obvious in its era.

On the back of the ‘gram, is a printed panel explaining what exactly the Society is all about, and it contains a passage that cements my regard for them.  Let me quote, and add emphasis with a stereotype Lovecraftian italicized ending:

The Society depends on new-fangled electronic methods of communication in conducting most day-to-day business, but also likes to use good old-fashioned paper and ink the way Lovecraft did when possible.  We can only hope the U.S. Post Office stays in business.  We’ll do our part to keep it afloat and hope that you will too.  Using the mail is more fun!

Today’s sly foreign pen: Pilot Elite
Today’s odd-smelling stygian gloom: Jentle blue-black


3 Responses to “Horror from the Coast!”

  1. Maja said

    Very cool! I have six Lovecraft books published by Del Rey and I was wondering if you could possibly recommend which I should read first as I am a Lovecraft “newbie:. The books in question are:
    -At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror
    -The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
    -The Doom That Came to Sarnath and Other Stories
    -The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
    -The Lurking Fear and Other Stories
    -The Tomb and Other Tales

    Thanks in advance!

    • I’m going to suggest stories rather than books; you’ve got most of his stuff available to you there. “The Lurking Fear” is probably a good place to start as it’s almost cinematic in its action. “Colour Out of Space” is a little longer and a little less action-oriented, but it probably gives a greater sense of HPL’s underlying sense of terrible things happening to people only because the universe is full of terrible. After those, his best serious stuff is “Call of Cthulhu”, “Shadow Over Innsmouth” and “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”; I also recommend “Herbert West- Reanimator”, but that was apparently meant as something of a humour piece. I really like “At the Mountains of Madness” and “Shadow Out of Time”, but they need a little bit of a running start to get through and shouldn’t be the items of first attempt.

      I’m also going to pass along a smart thing I heard on via hppodcraft.com; don’t read a lot in one sitting. There’s some redundancies that start to clang in one’s mental ears by reading several years of his output in an evening.

      OH! I just remembered something else of great use– the Del Ray version of “Shadow Out of Time” is a heavily edited one; the one available through hplovecraft.com is corrected.

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